The X-Files aka Fight the Future
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Thirty-seven thousand years ago, a deadly secret was buried in a cave in Texas. Now the secret has been unleashed. And it's discovery may mean the end of all humanity. The plague to end all plagues When a terrorist bomb destroys a building in Dal
The definitive American television series of the '90s comes to the big screen with an anticlimactic whimper. And how could it be otherwise? Why should material so perfectly realized in one medium necessarily translate well into another? The series is crisply and thoughtfully executed in just about every detail, but the heart of its appeal lies in the elegant handling of complicated and evolving ongoing story lines, which is not something movies are especially good at. The big-screen drive for closure cramps the creative style, though it may also help nonfans get a grip on the proceedings. We do get some invigorating thrills and chills, however, and a more satisfying sense of the scale of an all-enveloping human-alien conspiracy than ever before, but there's no more plot development here than in an average two-part season-ending. FBI black sheep Mulder and Scully have been temporarily transferred from the X-Files project to an anti-terrorist unit to investigate an Oklahoma City-style bombing. They uncover a new wrinkle in the Syndicate/Cancer Man conspiracy--basically an attempt to help one bunch of (benign?) aliens fight off another bunch who want to colonize Earth. A spectacular, ice-bound finale thrillingly staged by series-veteran director Rob Bowman offers Mulder (but not a conveniently unconscious Scully) his first clear look at a You Know What, which in some quarters qualifies as an epochal event. Martin Landau offers the agents some crucial clues, and several familiar TV faces (including the Lone Gunmen and Mitch Pileggi's indispensable Assistant Director Skinner) turn up briefly to wink knowingly at faithful fans. --David Chute
- Additional footage not seen in theatres
- 30-minute documentary including interviews with 'Gillian Anderson' and series creator 'Chris Carter'
- Special 8-page booklet
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Fans of the show will enjoy it and people who don't watch the show will enjoy it and maybe want to start watching the show.
THE X-FILES TV series is the story of FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson), who investigate mysterious, inexplicable phenomenon. Mulder is the credulous "believer," who goes into every situation assuming the wildest possible conclusion is the correct one. Scully is the "skeptic," who labors to pin scientific explanations to things like spontaneous human combustion, demonic possession, and astral projection. Together, they rub along as effectively as did Kirk, Spock and McCoy, forming a sort of single personality which balances Mulder's mantra of "I want to believe" with Scully's scientific "prove it to me" approach. Though many episodes deal with such things as monsters, vampires, psychic phenomena, telekinesis, ghosts, mutations, etc., the over-arching story of THE X-FILES involves a nebulous conspiracy carried out by a nameless but seemingly all-powerful cabal of nameless men from all over the world, who seem to be preparing Earth for some kind of alien invasion. The way this central plot was approached was so piecemeal, and so full of deliberate misdirection and obfuscation, that even after five years and over 100 episodes, it wasn't clear exactly how this conspiracy was going to be carried out nor who the men of the cabal were nor what they really hoped to accomplish by facilitating it. Moreover, neither Mulder -- whose obsession with the paranormal, supernatural and extraterrestrial was triggered by the long-ago kidnapping of his sister Samantha, ostensibly by aliens -- nor Scully had yet been "paid off" by the sensational revelations they had been waiting for as characters and we as an audience. On top of this, the e'er-present sexual tension between the two was getting out of hand and needed some kind of resolution. So the movie was viewed, in my estimation correctly, as the moment when the show's creator, Chris Carter, finally took off THE X-FILES clothes and let us see what was underneath.
The film is set between the fifth and sixth seasons of the series. Mulder and Scully, no longer working The X-Files, are nevertheless drawn back into the alien conspiracy after a bombing in Dallas turns out to be more than the mere terrorist attack it seemed to be. Before long Mulder is contacted by a seemingly paranoid doctor (Martin Landau) who warns Mulder that the alien invasion he's suspected is in the works will be actively facilitated by the U.S. government, specifically FEMA. But Mulder, embittered by his pariah status in the Bureau and the futility of his "hollow personal quest," doesn't want to hear any more conspiracy theories. However, Scully discovers the bodies of those supposedly killed in the bombing are infected with an alien virus, which may eventually be disseminated to the population via a very unusual method (hint: the carriers are very common, but not human). Their poking and prodding, conducted against the express wishes of their superiors, including the morally ambiguous Assistant Director Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi), soon arouses the ire of the Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis), who kidnaps Scully, already infected by the virus. Mulder must track down Scully, administer an antidote, and rescue her, which will be difficult in the extreme, given that her location is pretty much the end of the earth.
As you may have gathered from that rather brisk summary, THE X-FILES movie is not easy to quantify even as a story. Roger Ebert, who liked the film, infamously remarked that it required "a sequel, a prequel, and Cliff notes" to understand just what the hell is going on. Put another way, this is not a film for those who hadn't watched the show, though creator-writer Chris Carter works mightily to make it newbie-friendly. But that is by no means the problem. The real problem is that after two hours of gorgeously shot footage, during which we see Mulder & Scully chased by helicopters, bees, and armed men, several characters get blown to smithereens (including one recurring character on the show), and a flashback 35,000 years old, not to mention some aliens and a spaceship, the movie fails to pay off on any of the points I mentioned above. The conspiracy remains nebulous in its character and somewhat even in its ultimate goals. Mulder's quest for proof has lead in an enormous circle, and Scully's skepticism remains more or less intact. What's more, the resolution, or at least mollification, of the sexual-romantic tension between the two is unrelieved. It's not that the movie is bad per se -- it has its moments of humor, tension and pathos, as well as some of the chemistry between Duchovny and Anderson that makes the series sing -- so much as underwhelming and almost meanly conservative. One critic claimed it was not even a movie at all, but a "two hour episode released in theaters," and this is fairly accurate. I remember -- even after all these years -- leaving the theater with my girlfriend in 1998 feeling cheated, disappointed and unsatisfied, and rewatching the film recently did little to improve my overall opinion of it. It's as if Carter's intention were to hit a single and nothing more. But with all the talent and money on hand, including his own, this film could have been a double or a triple. Or even a home run.
Please don't misunderstand this review. I love THE X-FILES, and have a special place in my heart for it and for the time in which it was on the air. Indeed, when the credits of FIGHT THE FUTURE were rolling, and I heard The Foo Fighters "Walking After You," I almost died from sheer nostalgia alone. But my memory of this film is also bound up with my gradual divorce from the series -- I stopped watching sometime deep in the sixth season -- out of exasperation with the refusal of the series to pay off its audience with some full frontal reveal. Now, of course, I'm slowly burning through the entire original series once again, and the new mini-series as well. So I don't want to come off as a basher or a hater. I just want to make it clear that if you watch THE X-FILES in order from beginning to now, you must steel yourself for the fact that "the truth" is STILL out there, waiting to be revealed...25 years later.
The film cuts to modern day 1998 where a group of young boys are digging a hole alongside a deserted field. One of the boys falls inside the hole and has the same black substance fill his body, all the way to his head, causing his eyes to turn black. Since the closure of the X-Files, Scully and Mulder have been assigned to work on other projects. This time they're helping investigate and stop a bomb threat in a federal building in downtown Dallas. After failing to successfully detonate the bomb in which $45 million dollars worth of damage was done in addition to 5 people as well as a special agent who allowed the bomb to go off, were killed in the explosion, officials at a job evaluation hearing consider splitting Scully and Mulder up.
Later that evening, Mulder conveniently meets well known conspiracy author and paranoid doctor, Alvin Kurtzweil, who shares with Mulder, information of a conspiracy to hide the truth about the bombing. With his assistance, the duo of Mully and Sculder risk their lives and careers to hunt down a deadly extraterrestrial virus, leaked by a mysterious group of powerful elites that could erase the human race on earth.
Overall: To put it simple, if you like the TV show then you'll live Fight the Future. The thing is, this installation of Fight the Future can and will be confusing to those who watch as the plot manages to flip flop (all for a bigger picture on the upside) from time to time and will have you abusing the rewind button to try and see if you can make sense of certain things. Despite the wide, 2-3 layered plot, it all leaves way for an entertaining ride for the duration of this film as we see TV's favorite investigating duo look for answers to put a stop to what could be the end of all mankind.